Tanzania Oil And Gas Profile
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  • Exploration and production of petroleum is governed by the Petroleum [Exploration and Production] Act of 1980. Petroleum exploration activities started in the country since early 1950s when BP drilled a number of wells along the coast and in the island of Zanzibar and Mafia.
  • Although no liquid hydrocarbons have been discovered, three gas fields have so far been discovered which are Songo Songo, Mnazi Bay and Mkuranga gas fields.
  • Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation [TPDC] is responsible on behalf of the Government to oversee the development of petroleum exploration and production activities in the country. Currently there are 14 exploration companies operating in the country.
  • Tanzania is likely to see a massive increase in activity in the sector over the next few years. The IMF made the following comment in January 2012:
    • Tanzania’s prospects of becoming a major producer of natural gas by the end of the decade appear good. There could be large foreign direct investment inflows over the next five years, and a substantial increase in exports and government revenue beginning around 2020.


  • 1974 - Songo Songo was discovered
  • 1980 - The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act was passed
  • 1991 - An agreement was signed by Ocelot International Inc. with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TDPC) to develop Songo Songo
  • 2001 - Aminex entered the country
  • 2004 - Gas production commenced in June
  • 2005 - The third licensing round was closed
  • 2007 - Statoil signed a production sharing agreement with the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Cooperation (TPDC)
  • 2010 - BG Group entered Tanzania
  • 2010 - The Pweza-1 gas discovery and the Chewa-1 gas discovery was made
  • 2011 - The Chaza-1 gas discovery was made
  • 2012 - The Zafarani Gas Field and Lavani Gas Field were discovered


  • The sector is regulated by the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1980,
  • The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation(TPDC) is the Tanzanian State corporation through which the Ministry of Energy and Minerals implements its petroleum exploration and development policies. TPDC has a manpower strength of about 200 and is organised into five directorates: Exploration, Production and Technical services, Finance and Administration, Internal Auditing, Marketing and Investment, and Managing Director
  • The petroleum downstream sub-sector is governed by the Petroleum Act. 2008


  • Tanzania has been intermittently explored over the last 50 years. Most of the multinational petroleum companies were represented in the area, at one time or another. Significant gas discoveries were made at Songo Songo and Mnazi Bay. So far a total of 35 exploration and development wells have been drilled.
  • The cumulative seismic coverage in public domain is approximately 52,000 km of which 28,000 km were acquired offshore and 24,000 km onshore. The onshore seismic coverage includes coastal as well as interior rift basins. An additional 11,000 km of Deep-sea modern non-exclusive geophysical data were acquired in the year 1999/2000. Although no oil has been produced until now, available data and geological information reveal the existence of an active petroleum system.
  • Current natural gas production and exploration activities are concentrated offshore in a deepwater basin that the country shares with Kenya & Mozambique

Active Companies

  • There are 14 exploration companies operating in the country
  • BG Group entered Tanzania in 2010, acquiring an interest in offshore Blocks 1, 3 and 4. These blocks are jointly owned with Ophir Energy
  • Aminex has been working in Tanzania since 2001. Four exploration wells have been drilled, two of which encountered commercial quantities of natural gas. Kiliwani North-1 tested gas at 40 million cubic feet/day and is being developed for commercial production.
  • Statoil Tanzania AS is the operator with 65 % interest with ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Limited as partner with a 35% interest of Block 2 in water depths of between 400 and 3000 metres. The Zafarani Gas Field is located here
  • Petrobras Tanzania Limited, is the operator of Blocks 5,6 in deepwater Tanzania in a JV with Shell
  • Heritage has licensed virtually the entire Rukwa Rift Basin split into two separate areas; Rukwa North Basin and Rukwa South Basin.
  • Solo Oil owns the Ruvuma PSA which covers 12.360 square kilometres in the extreme south-east of Tanzania of which roughly 80% is onshore and 20% offshore.
  • Orca Exploration Group operates one licence in Tanzania which comprises two blocks known as the Discovery Blocks.

Crude Oils

  • Currently the country is producing no crude oil, but has natural gas production as well as potential for further natural gas development.


  • The Songa Songa development includes a 70 million cubic feet per day natural gas processing plant on Songo Songo Island and a 232-kilometre, 12-inch pipeline (25 kilometres marine, 207 kilometres on land) from Songo Songo Island to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;



  • There are no refineries in operation in Tanzania since the closure of the TIPER Dar es Salaam Refinery in 1999
  • Noor Oil & Industrial Technology Inc. (NOIT) has signed an implementation agreement with the Government of United Republic of Tanzania to build an oil refinery with capacity of 200,000 barrel per day and oil pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza , Kigoma. Plans , design and feasibility studies are in progress.

Relevant Links

  1. The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation(TPDC)
  2. Ministry of Energy & Minerals
  3. EIA Tanzania Statistics
  4. BG Group, Tanzania
  5. Ophir, Tanzania
  6. Statoil, Tanzania
  7. Change in interest in Tanzania
  8. Solo Oil, Ruvuma
  9. IMF Executive Board Completes Third Review Under Policy Support Instrument for Tanzania

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